Wednesday, August 25, 2010

John Michael Talbot

Back in the days when I used to run the Christian bookshop, one of the top-selling artists at one point was John Michael Talbot.   He sang simple, straightforward songs he'd written himself, accompanying himself on a guitar.   Most of the albums had subtle background music - and sometimes choirs - adding to the mix.   In fact, I remember one person saying that without these, the music wasn't all that remarkable.   I think that's a bit of an overstatement.   Certainly the additional music made a huge difference in emotional content to the basic simple songs, but not every song had these big background accompaniments, and the tracks that were done in a simple way were often highly effective. 

Like so many artists at that time, Talbot kind of went off the boil in terms of sales, and I haven't thought much about him in recent years.   I'd got the impression that he was a priest or monk, but in fact he's neither.  He joined the secular Franciscan order, but was never a monk.  The entry in Wikipedia tells us that he's now married to a former nun, and that he founded a integrated monastic community of celibates, married people and families called the Brothers and Sisters of Charity. 

In spite of my not hearing much about him, he's never stopped producing albums and has been doing big tours around the US for a number of years.   In the video below he talks about moving into a much smaller scale ministry, one that emphasises simplicity, and which is much more like a road tour without all the hype and paraphernalia; something with an element of serendipity in it, by the sound of things.

The other thing that's noticeably different is the long flowing white beard.   I remember him as having a short beard in the old days, but this gives him the look of a Patriarch.   Interestingly enough, on the video, he sounds like a young man still.  

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